I’ve been asked to write a testimonial for MyPEC training, a simulated on-the-job training I went through with a group of MBA students. I think I might as well post it here so that my friends and other coursemates know what I’d been through missing in action in the period from November 2010 to January 2011
In November 2010, at the start of my fifth semester in MBA, I was among 30 students selected to join MyPEC training. We were sent to work full-time in a virtual company two days a week for three months. The company sells office stationery to “customers” (other virtual companies in Malaysia and throughout the world).
First I became the head of department in purchasing where I learned to negotiate with “suppliers” (yet other virtual companies) in order to buy office supplies at the best price and quality. Being new to purchasing and quite an accommodating person, initially I found it hard to be tough and assertive negotiating for best terms. Anyway I learned a few tricks and my team managed to pass the test to minimize the costs and bring in more profit to the company.
Few weeks later, I got rotated to the production and planning control department where I assisted my team leader to come up with new and creative products for the company. Designing and working on physical products was not my cup of tea, and I found myself quite reluctant in the new department. But I managed to come out of my comfort zone to do a job I was not familiar with.
Another few weeks later, all trainees formed groups and we broke into 5 new virtual companies. I helped form a company selling shipping boxes. Together with other founding members in the company, we completed the registration process to register a Sdn Bhd company, produced a business plan, pitched our business idea to investors and bankers, got funds in and started selling our products.
As COO of the new company, I was in charge of operations aspects including purchasing and inventory control. Again I was involved in negotiating and purchasing. But this time I was not so lucky as the suppliers stood firm and kept raising their prices. I offended quite some people and made a few mistakes. One of the most important lessons learned was to manage my emotions and stay cool and positive even under stress.
The company went well and we presented quite a handsome profit to our investors at the end of training. Thanks to the job rotation in former company and helping to oversee the operations of the second company, I had learned to appreciate the overall business process of a trading company. Needless to say, I learned the importance of teamwork and soft skills like negotiation and communication too.
The training had opened my eyes as it’s my first time experiencing such realistic and practical training. Although the suppliers, customers, products and money were all virtual, we all worked hard as if they were all real. The training provider was very successful in creating the simulated environment.
I recommend the training to all students without working experience to feel how it is like to apply what we study in business course to real life situations. I also recommend it even to those with working experience because it enhances our understanding of the overall business flow of a company and helps us to see all departments and appreciate all inside and outside stakeholders with a helicopter view.
I thank MyPEC Sdn Bhd for providing such a novel kind of training in Malaysia, and the coaches who taught, advised, encouraged, challenged and even scolded us in performing our job. Some people were not nice to deal with. But it was meant to simulate the real life anyway.
I also thank my business school, Graduate School of Management (GSM) in UPM, for allowing me into the training, though it was initially meant for my junior batch. The training should be continued in the university, and in fact should be introduced to many other business schools as well.